Examining the Relationship of Early Literacy Skills and Cognitive Self-Regulation to Kindergarten Readiness of Preschool Students
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Every year, millions of preschool-age children make the transition into kindergarten. This transition from preschool to kindergarten can be difficult for children who have not mastered the basic school readiness skills involved in a successful transition. Although school readiness is broadly defined and involves several basic skills, the present study focuses on the specific contribution of cognitive self-regulation and early literacy skills. The present study examined the effects of preschool progress in cognitive self-regulation and early literacy skills on kindergarten readiness using descriptives, Pearson correlations, analysis of variance, and multilevel growth modeling. Three research questions are described and utilized. Research question 1 examined the growth in early literacy and cognitive self-regulation skills across the preschool year, research question 2 examined the relationship between early literacy and cognitive self-regulation skills, and research question 3 examined differences in student skills across three sites. Participants included preschool students, ages 4 to 5, from three different school districts. Early literacy and cognitive self-regulation data were collected at the beginning, middle and end of the preschool year. Overall, results yield a better understanding of the relationship between early literacy and cognitive self-regulation skills in preschool students and how community-level factors affect these skills in order to better support early intervention in preschools. More specifically, results of the first research question indicated that students made growth in both early literacy skills and cognitive self-regulation skills across the preschool year, and scores in the beginning of the preschool year were significantly correlated with scores at the end of the preschool year. Results of the second research question indicated a strong relationship between early literacy skills and cognitive self-regulation across the preschool year, and results of the third research question highlighted differences in growth rates across sites. Possible mediating variables are described in the discussion. Limitations of the study and future research directions are discussed.